"My first memories of my Mom are of her holding me and singing songs like 'You Are My Sunshine' and 'Cotton Fields.' She has always had a beautiful voice. I suppose I got my singing ability from my mother-and or course, from God."
"We were a family that sang all the time. We would take the furniture out of the living room and dance. We would have a songwriting competition while we washed the dishes....while we were cleaning. Music was our destiny."
"'There were times when I had great times with my brothers, pillow fights and things, but I was, used to always cry from loneliness."
"Well, especially now I come to realize - and then - I would do my schooling which was three hours with a tutor and right after that I would go to the recording studio and record, and I'd record for hours and hours until it's time to go to sleep."
"Well, you don't get to do things that other children get to do, having friends and slumber parties and buddies. There were none of that for me. I didn't have friends when I was little. My brothers were my friends."
"I remember one time we were getting ready to go to South America and everything was packed up and in the car ready to go and I hid and I was crying because I really did not want to go, I wanted to play. I did not want to go."
"I remember going to the recording studio and there was a park across the street and I'd see all the children playing and I would cry because it would make me sad that I would have to work instead."
"People wonder why I always have children around. It's because I find the thing that I never had through them. Disneyland, amusement parks, arcade games — I adore all that stuff because when I was little, it was always work, work, work."
Michael Jackson, interview with Oprah Winfrey, 1993
"When I was little I grew up in an adult world. I grew up on stage. I grew up in night clubs. When I was seven, eight years old I was in nightclubs. I saw striptease girls take off all their clothes. I saw fights break out. I saw people throw up on each other. I saw adults act like pigs. That's why to this day I hate clubs. I don't like going to clubs - I did that already, I've been there. That's why I compensate now for what I didn't do then. So when you come to my house, you'll see I have rides, I have a movie theatre, I have animals. I love animals - elephants and giraffes and lions and tigers and bears, all kinds of snakes. I get to do all those wonderful things that I didn't get to do when I was little, because we didn't have those things. We didn't have Christmas. We didn't have sleepovers. We didn't have school, we had private school when we were touring. I didn't go to a state school. We tried it for two weeks and it didn't work. It was very difficult. It's hard growing up a celebrity child. Very few make that transition from child star to adult star. It's very difficult. I relate to Shirley Temple. I met her in San Francisco and I sat at her table and I cried so bad. She said, 'What's wrong Michael?' I said, 'I love you. I need to be around you more.' She goes, 'You're one of us, aren't you?' and I said 'Yes, I am.' Somebody else said, 'What do you mean?' and she said, 'Michael knows what I mean.' And I know exactly what she meant - to have been there as a child star and to have graduated to have succeeded in making that transition to fame as an adult is very difficult. When you're a child star people don't want you to grow up. They want you to stay little forever. They don't want you to work afterwards. It's very hard."
Michael Jackson in Gold Magazine interview, 2002
"I don´t like clubs now, I did all that when I was eleven, eight and going back - nine, eight, seven, six. Fights break out, people throwing up, yelling, screaming, the police sirens. Our father never let us become a part of it other than to perform and leave. But sometimes in having to do that you would get caught up in some of the craziness. I saw it all. The lady who came on right before, when The Jacksons were little.´And now next, the little Jackson 5´, was the lady who took off all her clothes. Threw her panties into the audience and the men would grab them and sniff them. I saw all this. Her name was Rose Marie and she put these things on her breasts and moved them around and she showed everything. So when I became sixteen, seventeen, and guys would say: ´Let´s go clubbing,´ I would go, ´Are you crazy?´ And the guys were like, ´No, are you crazy? We can get girls, we can get liquor.´ But I had done that. I did that when I was baby. Now I want to be a part of the world and the life I didn´t have. Take me to Disneyland, take me to where magic is."
Michael Jackson in MJ Tapes
"When I was a kid, I was denied not only a childhood, but I was denied love. When I reached out to hug my father, he didn't hug me back. When I was scared on an airplane, he didn't put his arm around me and say, ´Michael, don't worry. It's going to be OK.´ When I was scared to go on stage, he said, ´get your ass on that stage.´ … I will never deny a child love. If it means that I have to be crucified or put in jail for it, then that's just what they're going to have to do.
Michael Jackson in remark to producer Cory Rooney, as repeated to Chris Yandek (http://thesportsinterview.com/mjackson.html)
"When people see the television appearances I made when I was a little boy — 8 or 9 years old and just starting off my lifelong music career — they see a little boy with a big smile. They assume that this little boy is smiling because he is joyous, that he is singing his heart out because he is happy, and that he is dancing with an energy that never quits because he is carefree.
But while singing and dancing were, and undoubtedly remain, some of my greatest joys, at that time what I wanted more than anything else were the two things that make childhood the most wondrous years of life, namely, playtime and a feeling of freedom. The public at large has yet to really understand the pressures of childhood celebrity, which, while exciting, always exacts a very heavy price.
More than anything, I wished to be a normal little boy. I wanted to build tree houses and go to roller-skating parties. But very early on, this became impossible. I had to accept that my childhood would be different than most others. But that’s what always made me wonder what an ordinary childhood would be like."
Michael Jackson in his reflection "My Childhood, My Sabbath, My Freedom," December 2000
"My childhood was completely taken away from me. There was no Christmas, there were no birthdays, it was not a normal childhood, nor the normal pleasures of childhood — those were exchanged for hard work, struggle and pain and eventually material and professional success. But as an awful price, I cannot re-create that part of my life.
However, today, when I create my music, I feel like an instrument of nature. I wonder what delight nature must feel when we open our hearts and express our God-given talents. The sound… of approval rolls across the universe, and the whole world abounds in magic. Wonder fills our hearts, for what we have glimpsed, for an instant, the playfulness of life.
And that’s why I love children and learn so much from being around them. I realise that many of our world’s problems today — from the inner city crime, to large scale wars and terrorism, and our overcrowded prisons — are a result of the fact that children have had their childhood stolen from them. The magic, the wonder, the mystery, and the innocence of a child’s heart, are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world. I really believe that.
What… what we need to learn, what we need to learn from children isn’t childish. Being with them connects us to the deeper wisdom of life which is everpresent, and only asks to be lived. They know the solutions that lie waiting to be recognised within our own hearts. Today, I would like to thank all the children of the world, including the sick and deprived… I am so sensitive to your pain."
Michael Jackson´s speech at Grammy Awards, 1993
"But, if you really want to know about me, there is a song I wrote which is the most honest song I've ever written. It is the most autobiographical song I've ever written. It's call CHILDHOOD."
M: I was the one who would fight back when I was little. He’d try to beat me and stuff like that. You know, if I sang the wrong – I didn’t do something right or I did the wrong dance step, you know the wrong move. And I would argue back and I would fight back.
G: And all of your big brothers just sit there and watch?
M: yeah, they were scared of him. And I threw a show at him and stuff.
M: and I’d run like HELL! And he couldn’t catch me, you know?
M: And then when I went to sleep and stuff ‘cause, we you know, we were (I)
G: (something bangs, muffling noises) Hold on, I was trying to take these jeans off and I dropped the phone, I’m sorry, laughs
M: (Can I get into them?)
G: laughs, No wait a minute, I’m going to pick them up off the floor. Hold on, okay, go ahead.
M: Okay, My brothers used to say I was crazy. And I was little. And I would always fight Joseph back, and oh my god, I would get my ass beat. And then I used to run and I threw a show at him and run like hell.
M: and he knocked me down on the floor one time ‘cause we were rehearsing in our living room. I did somethin’ wrong. He knocked the MESS out of me. And we were supposed to perform somewhere the next day. And he knocked me down so hard, I lost the wind, I lost my wind, right? And I was just little
M: so I got up, I was so serious. They talk about me being conceited now, you know?
M: I got up and I was crying and stuff. And I said, “Joseph, if you hit me again. I’m not performing!”
M: he’s like, “what the fuck did you say?”
M: I’m like, “You hit me again, Joseph” – and I couldn’t, I wasn’t even nine years old, I was probably just about seven. I said, Joseph if you hit me again and I was crying my eyes out, I said if you hit me again I am NOT performing.
G: sympathetic sigh
M: And he left me alone. I said I’m not doing the show! He said, “don’t you know I will kick your MF ass! And all this and that,” and I got up, the wind was knocked out of me. And I said, you hit me again and I won’t perform. And he knew I was the star performer. laughs
G: haha, yeah really!
M: and he didn’t hit me
G: well, you had some leverage there (laughs)
M: My brothers used to say, “Mike you crazy man, you crazy.” And then when I would go to sleep at night he would see that I was scared. He would be banging on our windows and stuff and open the windows like he was going to break in and stuff
G: That’s horrible, that’s an awful thing for-
M: You read about that in the book, you read it.
G: oh, Michael it’s been a while since I’ve read that book, I don’t remember everything.
M: He used to scare us when we were little. When we were asleep and we had to get up early in the mornings. We had to have rehearsals before we went to school. God, and he banged on the windows and we looked out the windows and he had a monster mask on (G gasps) and “Mother, mother, mother, there’s a monster!”
G: how horrible
M: and we’d get in trouble for crying
G: that’s awful. That’s really sick and twisted. I can’t even relate to somebody that does stuff like that. But it didn’t affect your brother’s the same way it did you, huh?
M: Well… (silence)I seen my brothers, you know, when we were traveling and stuff and doing the circuit and all that. Joseph would be in another room messing with a girl and it was obvious they were having sex
M: I know… but I didn’t wanna tell mother, and Marlon and I didn’t wanna tell them but.. all my brothers kind of just… did the same thing, so, Joseph…
G: Are any of your brothers still married? Or isn’t everybody married right now?
M: Well, they broke up but, Marlon and Carol have been, they’re trying to work it out. I admire Carol because Marlon was gonna divorce her but she still wanted to make it work
G: And Jermaine, what is he doing?
M: Oh GOD…
M: I remember, like I told you before, when Marlon and I had to share a room with Jermaine and Bill was asleep. Jermaine would have girls up there all the time screwing and stuff. I always (said I’d never ??) Marlon said the same thing. I felt so guilty when we used to home from the circuit and stuff before we made it, y’know we used to do the club circuits and stuff. I felt so guilty, and I just cried and Joseph choked me, almost broke my arm one day. But he was proud of it. It’s like, (joseph’s voice) “Oh, this is what you should do, boy.” I mean, he didn’t say that but he was screwin’ women in the other room and stuff.
G: What an awful thing to witness. From your father, your role model. (sighs) Especially doing stuff to your mom. What an awful thing.
Phone conversation with Glenda
Michael Jackson Birthplace - Childhood Hometown Tour of Gary Indiana
When Michael Jackson was born (pre Civil Rights), black people could not use the same bathroom, water fountain or restaurants as whites. They had to sit in the back of a bus. MJ was very poor & a family of 11 had to sleep in a small house with 2 beds. Normal to share a bed. pic.twitter.com/LfDmqzALsf— Keya Morgan (@KeyaMorgan) March 22, 2019
Little Michael and his brothers: